Cleaning

10 Expert Tips for Keeping a Mess-Free Home

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Keeping a tidy house can seem like a huge task, but there are a few ways to help keep your home under control. Here, the experts share 10 of their best tips for keeping a tidy house.

Whether the idea of decluttering sparks joy or makes you break out in a cold sweat, there are plenty of good reasons to schedule a session.

“It saves you time, reduces stress levels, improves productivity – and at the very least means you can find things,” says Etty Matalon, psychologist and chief organizer at professional organizing firm Dot Org.

Here, top decluttering experts reveal 10 secrets to a successful – and (mostly) stress-free – home purge.

Organize First, Buy Later

“Often people will start by heading off to the shops to buy storage solutions like tubs or baskets, but this simply adds to the clutter,” says Linda Eagleton, a professional organizer at Creative Surrounds. “Once you’ve made the decision to tackle your mess, it’s best to just get started.”

Start Small

If doing a big declutter feels too overwhelming, kick off your purge with a single drawer or box, says Amy Revell, a professional organizer at The Art of Decluttering. “This will give you an easy win, build your cluttering muscles and motivate you to stay on task.”

Stay Focused

Once you’ve found your clutter target, a take-no-prisoners attitude is required, says Amy. “Set a timer for decluttering – even if it’s just 15 minutes at a time – and stick to it,” she says. “And switch off any distractions, particularly your phone

Ask Tough Questions

Unsure what to keep and what to ditch? Amy suggests asking yourself these questions: “Have I used it in the past 12 months?”; “Do I plan to use it in the future?”; “If it broke, would I buy it again?”; “Do I own a similar item that serves the same purpose?”

Change Your Attitude

“Be ruthless – if you don’t absolutely love or need something, let it go,” advises Linda. “A common mistake is opening a drawer and simply moving things from one side to the other, with no actual organizing taking place,” adds Jo Carmichael, professional organizer and founder of All Sorted Out. “Instead, remove the contents, look at each piece individually and either put it back, discard it or move it to a more appropriate spot.”

Sort Like a Pro

A few smart organizing strategies can help keep clutter under control, says Jo. “Sort like with like; make a place for everything; don’t put things down – put them away; limit the items in your home to what actually fits; and label everything.”

Target Clutter Hotspots

No matter how hard you try, some spots just seem to attract junk. “The hallway is a classic example,” says Jo.

Once you’ve returned unnecessary items to their proper homes (and had stern words with those responsible), create easy-to-use storage for hallway paraphernalia.

“Use wall hooks for bags and jackets, a hallway table or floating shelves for keys and post, and a couple of wide baskets for school shoes and sneakers,” she suggests.

The kitchen countertop is another clutter magnet,” Jo points out. “Keep it clear by giving everyone their own basket for things like their homework and Opal card, and store these within reach on a shelf or inside a kitchen cupboard. Then create a ‘family admin station’ by hanging a couple of magazine stands on the kitchen wall for important paperwork, such as school notes,” she says.

Reorganize Your Wardrobe

“First, pull everything out of your cupboards and put it on the bed,” says Linda. “Sort items into categories, such as T-shirts, pants, and dresses, so you can see exactly how many of each you have,” she says. “Get rid of everything that’s damaged, doesn’t fit or you don’t feel good in.

Donate items that are still in good condition to charity.”Hang current-season clothing in your wardrobe where it’s easily seen and accessed,” she continues, “and store off-season clothing on upper shelves.”

Get Rid of Things

“While it can be tempting to set aside space where unwanted items can accumulate until the pile is big enough to warrant a trip to the tip or charity bin, it’s only when they are out of your house that you will fully experience the joy of decluttering,” says Amy. “So fill up your car and drop items off right away, or book a collection with a charity that will come to you.”

New Year, New You

“In 2020, make decluttering and organizing your new good habits,” Jo advises. “

My favorite motto is, ‘Don’t put it down, put it away’ – this encourages you to return things to where they belong instead of putting them on the benchtop or floor, or having to make a decision about where they belong,” says Amy. “If you buy something new, see what you can declutter to make room for it.”

And if you don’t turn Marie Kondo overnight, don’t despair. “Like any new habit, being automatically organized will take several weeks’ practice,” says Jo.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.

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